Joy Kirr is a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. Her 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of their learning experiences... Want to have her speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is Joy's PORTFOLIO.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Don't Blink

As we write this (June 20), we are at a KOA in Poudre Canyon, CO, just north of Fort Collins. We've taken daily drives, alternating between town tours and landscape tours. We took our travel trailer on this 1,000 mile trip west, and Bob drove the entire way (with two-night stops in Omaha and Ogallala, NE) through all the wind and hills on our way here. (We did get somewhat of a friendly wind heading east...)

Today (Day 11??) was the ride up route 14 - the Cache la Poudre (hide the powder) Canyon. It goes right from our campground up and over the Rockies. The Cache la Poudre River is Colorado's first nationally designated "Wild and Scenic River." We decided to make it up a ways, eat our packed lunch, then head back down.

The canyon doesn't disappoint.

We've been in awe this entire trip. We've used myriad ways of saying the same thing - marvelous, miraculous, awesome, breath-taking, beautiful, gorgeous, amazing, unbelievable - all for something, to us, is indescribable. At one point today, Joy said, "At every turn, there's something new." Bob responded with, "Don't blink."

There's so much to see that looking to the right, you miss everything to the left. If you look down, you miss everything that's up. It's hard to take it all in. There's no way to take it all in, as long as you're moving.

We took "slow-vehicle turn offs" and drives that led to parking lots, and then we tried to take in more. As long as we were driving, however, there was no way to take it all in. If you've ever driven on a mountain road, you know it is required to keep moving along most of the road.

Last week (Days 1-3 of our first vacation this summer), Joy was feeling like a slacker when it came to learning with her PLN. You can only do so much without a laptop! This trip has reminded her that time with loved ones is an "all-in" gig. There's a time for work, and a time for play, and when we are together, it should be OUR time.

Joy is reminded of Dave Burgess's Teach Like a Pirate lesson on "immersion." Bob knows she is "all-in" when it comes to teaching. She has learned the lesson (again!) to be "all-in" when AWAY from school. Today's ride was another reminder of the reasons WHY you should immerse yourself where you are. Sure, we'll miss some things to the left or above if we keep moving, but if we STOP... stop and take it in when we have places to "pull over"... we'll have more fulfilling experiences.

For all of you who are #NotAtISTE, soak in where you actually ARE. Immerse yourself with the people around you. Yes, you will miss some ISTE lessons, but if they are good, teachers will share them and they'll come back around to you.

Just because we're on vacation does not mean we stop learning. What are lessons you are learning (or being reminded of) this summer?

~Co-authored by Bob and Joy Kirr

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